A men's magazine compiled a list of the "Unsexiest Women Alive", and Sarah Jessica Parker was voted number No. 1. Well, how do you like that??? The Sydney Morning Herald article reported the results of this unfortunate survey, and included an unflattering photo of Parker just to drive the point home a little more brutally. I saw the article a few weeks back, and at the time, I was appalled and saddened for Sarah Jessica Parker and the other women named as numbers 2 to 5 in the list. Since then I've been thinking about it quite a lot, and the more I think, the more it bothers me. Here's a snippet from the article:
The list, published in the latest edition of Maxim Magazine, named Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker as the No. 1 Unsexiest Woman Alive.
The magazine said Parker was the "least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women" that ironically starred in a show with the word "sex" in the title.
Firstly, I know there will be some who will say Parker and the other women who made the dreaded list are celebrities who make squillions every year. They sought out notoriety and consequently, are fair game.
I don't subscribe to this viewpoint. Choosing a life in the entertainment industry does not mean expecting to be humiliated. And who voted these women "unsexy"? Are they readers of Maxim magazine, and thus male? If so, what kind of men are they? I'd like to see how these men would rate on a similar scale. I understand magazines do these surveys to sell issues, but they should keep them to positive themes: World's Sexiest, Most Beautiful, etc. Who magazine regularly publishes such surveys, and what I like about them is that they feature a number of celebrities who aren't shining examples of what is considered to be "conventional" beauty. In fact, I'd be willing to bet Sarah Jessica Parker and the other stars of Sex And The City have been featured.
Sarah Jessica Parker's beauty is not conventional. That's what I like about her. And it was one of the reasons Sex And The City was such a popular, well-loved show. She is gorgeous, that is undeniable, but in a much more interesting way than the numerous - and forgettable - starlets who sparkle with a faint veneer of Hollywood gloss. Parker and the other characters of the show portrayed a realism that many women could connect with. Okay, their sexual escapades were a bit over the top, and there aren't many good TV shows or movies where you don't have to suspend disbelief just a little. That was all part of the fun. And the heart of the show, what made it poignant, funny, touching and absolutely gut-wrenching at times, was not the sex. It was the portrayal of these four women and their relationships with men and with each other.
The other admirable quality displayed by Sarah Jessica Parker, what I appreciate every time I watch her on screen, is that she looks 'real'. She's been in Hollywood a long time now. I think the first time I noticed her was in Steve Martin's LA Story, and apart from aging a bit, she hasn't changed much. By this, I mean she hasn't bowed to Hollywood pressure to get her nose done or substantially change her appearance by surgical means. Who knows, she may have had face lifts, but she hasn't become one of those generic clones we see splashed all over magazines. Women who used to look real once, and now look 'done'.
And what about her style? It's fantastic. Watching Sex And The City was a sheer visual delight. The outfits - though sometimes leaning towards the bizarre... or tragic - were an asset to the show and its creators. In its attempt to define style and fashion, the show had to go 'out there', take some risks. And those risks truly paid off, providing a visual treat only surpassed by classics like Breakfast At Tiffany's. Since I own the complete series of Sex And The City, I sometimes indulge myself in the visual spectacle, and love every minute. There is no doubt Parker was the wardrobe director's muse. Her natural chic and flair with clothes was the inspiration for the many wonderful outfits, which ranged from flea market treasures to haute couture.
Putting Parker aside, I find the "Unsexiest Woman Alive" survey an insult to women in general. If it were done in a workplace, or a school, it would be considered harassment or bullying. The perpetrators would be castigated.
Shame on you, Maxim magazine. I say Sarah Jessica Parker is FABULOUS. She represent so much more than "sexyness". In the character of Carrie Bradshaw, she was the quintessential single girl looking for love. An icon for our times. A courageous career woman who refused to settle for second best. The photos illustrate some of the things Sarah Jessica Parker represents, the most improbable of them, "unsexy".